I like stackoverflow a lot. However I am observing that superuser and serverfault are more of a general type of Q&A site in their respective fields. That's based on some of my questions which got closed. You want to ask about CPUs in general, that's fine. You want to ask about XEON vs Opteron, that's too localized or too specific. It seems the two sites are geared more towards newbies or entry level hobbyist.

What annoys me a lot is when Jeff Atwood tells me (happened at least twice now) HOW to ask the question. Basically his new question becomes too broad and too general to fit my need and it becomes a Yahoo Answer type of question for the general public. And I know that type of question will illicit generic answers will I already know about and basically, a waste of time and effort for me.

My direction is that if I have a specific need question, I'll ask it at the proper forum somewhere on the web even if it means I have to search for it, without the prospect of a gang of people voting against me, or someone editing my question to fit the site or someone telling me I don't know how to formalize a question or it's too this or too that. Only I know what I want.

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    you didn't ask about xeon vs opteron; you asked which cpu you should buy for $X budget. – quack quixote May 30 '10 at 19:05
  • Forget what I said earlier. xeon vs opteron was just an impromptu example. I am making a general statement here about the purpose for the two sites and that they don't serve long tail questions but more general questions. – Tony_Henrich May 30 '10 at 19:23
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    Jeff. I find it unacceptable to butcher my question to something totally different. What you're doing is unethical. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 2:50
  • Apostrophe's make the world go round. @lad – Gnome May 31 '10 at 16:43
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    while I can understand your frustration, I think Jeff has a point here. "What should I buy with X budget?" questions are kind of the equivalent of "Please fix this code for me" questions on SO. Figuring out how to spend one's budget is hard, hard work. There are numerous individual factors to consider to make a good recommendation, and numerous questions to ask. Every recommendation you make will be countered by counter-recommendations that make as much sense as the original. Such questions are not likely to be a productive resource for future generations. – Pekka May 31 '10 at 16:48
  • ppl always have good questions - as its about access to knowledge and teaching someone. and and answerer has 3 variants: not answer, rant fqu, or just answer (as any answer could be answered anyhow as it has specifics) – Xsi Jan 3 '13 at 21:41
  • Only I know what I want. And, apparently, only everybody else knows what the rest of the community wants. Like it or not, your question is not just for you. This isn't a place for selfishness ... it's a place for communal Q&As. – Lightness Races BY-SA 3.0 Sep 23 '13 at 6:54

The question you asked is a slippery slope. If you allow these kinds of questions, then you're going to get hundreds more like it: "Is this a good configuration?" and "Should I buy this?" Questions that only pertain to one person (hence the "closed as too localized").

It might have been better if you had asked a question about the relative merits and suitable applications of a particular CPU, or comparison of two CPU's, from a standpoint of existing knowledge, and a basic understanding of the problem domains. But in the question you asked, you just kinda threw it up in the air without any specific direction and said, "I've got 400 bucks, tell me what to buy."

The question comes off as "please do my research for me." The natural knee-jerk reaction is likely to be "Go to Tom's Hardware, do some of your own research, and come back here and ask a specific question if you get stuck.

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    I did the research and filtered it down from tens of CPU's to like 4 and a budget of $400. If people can't take it one more notch and filter this further then, excuse me, I am probably asking the wrong crowd. I am sure I am not the only person in the world building a database server. Questions like the ones I ask can help make some people make better informative decisions based on other people's experience. Numerous times I go "that's a good point. I should take a note of this." I am sorry many people don't this approach to learn more. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 2:40
  • You ask a broad question and people say "do your own homework". You do your own homework and be specific, people complain it's too specific or localized. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 2:42
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    @tony you need to take the shopping questions elsewhere. Sorry. Do you see programmers asking what software they should buy on Stack Overflow? No? I wonder why not... – Jeff Atwood May 31 '10 at 3:09
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    One of the useful things about SOFU is that you can go back to the questions and they are still relevant...anything relating to hardware costs becomes outdated in about a weeks time... – davidsleeps May 31 '10 at 4:24
  • @Jeff do a search on "better" or "recommend" and you'll get similar results. I can't find my post to confirm I used "buy". Next time maybe I should use "use" so that I don't trigger the alarms. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 15:55

What annoys me a lot is when Jeff Atwood tells me (happened at least twice now) HOW to ask the question. Basically his new question becomes too broad and too general to fit my need and it becomes a Yahoo Answer type of question for the general public

What's really annoying is users who want to treat Super User and Server Fault like their own personal shopping recommendation engine.

"what should I buy" is, by its very nature, far too localized.

  • in what currency?
  • in what country?
  • for what purpose?
  • in what calendar month and year?

There may be other sites that welcome endless, pointless variations of this sort of "do my shopping homework" question, but our sites will not.

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    Hey.. at least don't change the question to something totally different just because you don't like it. A CPU works the same way whether its bought in dollars or marks. It works the same way whether you're in Canada or South Africa and it works the same way whether it's today or a year from now. I was very specific about the purpose and, guess what, it was closed because some thought it was too specific! and if someone needs more clarification, then just ask. And do us a favor, don't twist people's questions to your liking. I find this undemocratic and unethical. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 3:14
  • One of the questions I asked was which shopping site to use so I don't bother people with what you think is a 'mindless' question. – Tony_Henrich May 31 '10 at 3:15

I think any community has a little bit of a learning curve, and also some sensitive spots (And you just happened to hit one). Hopefully I don't annoy you further by telling you how I think you should have asked your question, which I am about to do by giving a possible example. Might not be perfect, but I don't think it would get closed.

I am currently building a server for the role of a Microsoft SQL Server 2008. What aspects of a CPU are more important for the workload of a SQL server. For example, should I mostly be focusing on certain Cache Sizes vs Clock speed? I am on a budget, so I want to what specific qualities are important so I can make the best choice.

If in order to answer this, I need to tell you more about what I think will be the usage patterns of the database, please let me know.

With something more like that, I think you and the rest of us can learn from the answers. Also, people might give you specific recommendations anyways. You kind of hinted towards you don't need to know this information because you already do, if that is the case I agree that than it is time just go do the research or find a different forum. The idea is that if you already know this sort of stuff, finding a processor that would be good for a good price should not take long.

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